Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Discussion
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the next step down from Platform as a Service (PaaS) and two steps down from Software as a Service (SaaS) in the Cloud Computing Stack. Instead of ready-made applications or services, developement tools, databases, etc., IaaS provides the underlying operating systems, security, networking, and servers for developing such applications, services, and for deploying development tools, databases, etc.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Advantages
- You or your organization are responsible for the versioning/upgrades of software developed (this is also a disadvantage).
- The maintenance and upgrades of tools, database systems, etc. and the underlying infrastucture is your responsibility or the responsibility of your organization (this is also a disadvantage).
- Various pricing models may allow paying only for what you use. This, for example, can allow an individual or a small organization to use sophisticated development software that they could not afford if it was installed on an internal, dedicated server.
- Some IaaS Providers provide development options for multiple platforms: mobile, browser, and so on. If you or your organization want to develop software that can be accessed from multiple platforms, this might be an easy way to make that happen.
- If you have events such as high seasonal sales activity, then the elasticity of the Cloud with IaaS might provide an opportunity.
- The IaaS Cloud Provider may provide better security than your existing software (security—or inadequate security—can also be a disadvantage). Better security may come in part because it is critical for the IaaS Cloud Provider and is part of their main business. In-house security, on the other hand, is not usually an individual's or a organization's main business and, therefore, may not be as good as that offered by the IaaS Cloud Provider.
- No need to manage the introduction of new releases of the development or underlying software. This is handled by the IaaS Cloud Provider.
- No need to manage the underlying data center. This is handled by the IaaS Cloud Provider.
- Usually, there is no need to manage backups. This is handled by the IaaS Cloud Provider.
- If the IaaS Cloud Provider supports failover should the software (for example, the database management software) or the data center become unavailable, that failover is a concern of the IaaS Cloud Provider and you do not need to plan for it.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Disadvantages
- You or your organization are responsible for the versioning/upgrades of software developed (this is also an advantage).
- The maintenance and upgrades of tools, database systems, etc. and the underlying infrastucture is your responsibility or the responsibility of your organization (this is also an advantage).
- When it is mandatory that the underlying hardware be of a specific type or the underlying software be modified to support the deployed application.
- There may be legal reasons that preclude the use of off-premise or out-of-counry data storage.
- Security features of the IaaS Cloud Provider may not adequate for your needs.
- If you have a need for high-speed interaction between your internal software or software in another Cloud and the IaaS Cloud Provider, relying on an Internet connection may not provide the speed that you need.
Network as a Service (NaaS) Variations
Sometimes Network as a Service (NaaS) is factored out of IaaS. See Network as a Service (NaaS).
More on the general topic: Cloud Computing Categories
Author: Douglas K Barry
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The Savvy Manager's Guide
Douglas K Barry is also the author of a book that explains Web Services, service-oriented architecture, and Cloud Computing in an easy-to-understand, non-technical manner.
Web Services, Service-Oriented Architectures, and Cloud Computing: The Savvy Manager's Guide (Second Edition)
by Douglas K Barry with David Dick
This is a guide for the savvy manager who wants to capitalize on the wave of change that is occurring with Web Services, service-oriented architecture, and—more recently—Cloud Computing. The changes wrought by these technologies will require both a basic grasp of the technologies and an effective way to deal with how these changes will affect the people who build and use the systems in our organizations. This book covers both issues. Managers at all levels of all organizations must be aware of both the changes that we are now seeing and ways to deal with issues created by those changes.